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Utah will be without one of its most dynamic players on offense for the Foster Farms Bowl on Wednesday.
Senior receiver, kick returner and do-it-all man Cory Butler-Byrd didn't make the trip to the Bay Area dealing with an injury, coach Kyle Whittingham said.
"He couldn't even practice," Whittingham said. "We hope it doesn't need any further attention. But that was one we didn't expect."
Whittingham said he wasn't certain what the injury was, but Butler-Byrd has dealt with oblique and knee issues this season while taking some of the hardest shots on the team. He appeared in a limited role against Colorado, and didn't start at kick returner. He wasn't made available to media last week.
As Butler-Byrd went through the bowl practices, it became harder for him to practice, Whittingham said.
When healthy, Butler-Byrd was a playmaker in the slot this season, zig-zagging past defenders after the catch. He totaled 372 receiving yards and 163 rushing yards (filling in against Oregon State when Utah was down on running backs). He had a memorable 99-yard kick return for a touchdown against UCLA on the first play of the game.
The Compton, Calif., native played mostly defensive back last year for Utah before switching to offense. He was suspended for the first two games of the 2016 season for an offseason incident in which he damaged a police car and building.
His most distinguished legacy at Utah is probably as a kick returner: He finishes his Utes career with two touchdowns and a 27.5 kick return yard average in two years.
Seniors accept exhibition invites
Defensive end Pita Taumoepenu and tackle Sam Tevi are among the Utes heading to postseason senior games.
Taumoepenu will play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 21 in Carson, Calif., it was announced Tuesday, while Tevi accepted an invite to the East-West Shrine game on the same day in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Running back Joe Williams previously accepted an invite to go to the East-West Shrine game, while guard Isaac Asiata is slated to go to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 28.